Pippa Wrap Dress/Top by DesignerStitch Patterns

You guessed it! Another pattern test* for Ann of DesignerStitch Patterns**. As much as I have been testing lately, I’m amazed how quickly the designers are preparing patterns. This pattern test happened sometime in September 2016 but I am only just getting around to posting it.

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The Pippa wrap dress** is a great pattern. Most wrap dresses are for knits but this one is for wovens. It comes with two sleeve lengths and peplum top, knee or tea length skirt. The bodice has a cross over front wrap with a self bound neckline attached to the wrap front skirt.

For the dress version I went for the knee length version, thinking this will be a summer staple. I used some flowy printed rayon circus in blue/white (100% rayon). This pattern really lends itself to a romantic types of fabric that have good drape.

I decided to make up the top version too with white rayon (100% rayon). Construction wise, everything fits together perfectly, and is explained clearly in the instructions. There is plenty of coverage for both the bodice and skirt wrap to not feel like you will have any indecent exposure. Both my versions were made with the shorter sleeve length.

                pippa-top-side-2                     pippa-top-front pippa-top-back dsc_0073

I’m happy that I have made two quick summer wardrobe additions with a great fitting pattern although they aren’t getting much wear at the moment as we are heading into winter down under. Someday, I won’t say soon, I plan to sew a chambray version of this dress.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links

Georgia Tops by DesignerStitch Patterns

Amongst unselfish sewing for my girls I have been doing some sewing of my own, namely pattern testing* for DesignerStitch Patterns, again.

The Georgia top/dress is a comfy yet classy wardrobe staple. It has a boxy look, no darts so is easy to fit, with wide sleeves and optional back pleat. It gives you a good opportunity to mix fabrics and of course has the option of making a top or dress. There is also the layer feature so you only need to print the size(s) you need in addition to a copy shop printable version.

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For both of my versions I opted for the pleat-free back.

My first version was made during testing, using some not very friendly fabrics, navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the body, and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) for the yoke. I may have slightly used too much heat when pressing because I’m not sure if this sits quite right and there may have been some shrinkage of the fabrics. Pattern pieces are provided to make the neck binding.

It is a really quick sew, and like always, everything lines up perfectly and instructions are easy to understand.

My second version was planned as a dressier summer top, using would you believe, a bed sheet from IKEA (52% poly/ 48% cotton). I liked the stiffness of the fabric and the lightness, almost like a linen, not to mention for $6 I have heaps of fabric left for other projects. For the yoke I used some white rayon remnants (100% rayon) from a yet to finish top from 6 months ago and still counting, and the sleeve bands are faux ivory leatherette (50% PU/ 40% poly) from my Salamanca jacket.

Georgia topo front Georgia top side               Georgia top back

It’s a great top, and the dress is too, but it’s just not my particular style. Not sure if it would flatter me or make me look frumpy. Perhaps when summer rolls around I may try it more as a beach cover up dress or add a belt or tie.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns

It’s been a while since I contemplated making something from my Cold Weather SWAP 2016, and realistically I think by the time I’m even half way through sewing the remainder of the items, winter will be over. I am motivated to sew but I have been living in jeans and a sweater with a jacket and haven’t had anywhere exciting to go really.

I did however make my cape. My inspiration was something flowy, less structured. I’ve had this fabric since January of this year and bought it on a whim when it was on sale, although it was the heart of summer. Stars aligned and the testing* call went out for the Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns.

Kerry cape back 2                            Kerry cape side 3 Kerry cape side 4

The fabric is black Mexican Inca poncho (polyester/cotton), and although I have prewashed the fabric, it’s a tad stiff perhaps for this project, not to mention it’s a smelly fabric, even after laundering. It has that hessian bag kind of smell. Hopefully with more wear it will soften up, and smell better. The cape is completely lined with black pongee lining (100% polyester). The Kerry Capelet and has the option of two lengths. I made the short version and it’s a great length.

There are lots of pattern pieces and the instructions are really thorough, with both images and photos to walk you through construction. It helps if you have done a bagged lining before but by no means necessary. It just helps to visualise things a little better. There is a bit of hand sewing at the end to close up the lining and armholes and to keep the hem from peeking out.  Kind of cathartic at the end of this project!

I had a hard time finding a closure I liked. I didn’t feel any buttons were appropriate, and after some surfing on the net, decided a leather buckle would be cool, but not so cool to purchase, it was hard to find and finally came up with a D-ring leather buckle. I think I may like it better with a second buckle sewn on,  I can’t really decide though, but considering that one buckle cost $12.00, the buckles would probably end up costing more than the fabric itself relative to size.

buckle

I’m really happy with this cape, it’s classy and cozy. Now I just need more outings to wear it too.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Julie Blouse by DesignerStitch Patterns

I’m all over the place at the moment with my blogging, a bit out of order, actually a lot out of order!!! Much of my pattern testing lately has been for DesignerStitch Patterns. Ann has been pumping them out, ready to be released as somewhat of a collection and all the patterns I have tested to date have been well fitting and really, wardrobe staples.

The Julie Blouse* is a very much on trend blouse, such that one of my friends was wearing an almost identical style of top, barr a few minor differences, to our recent catch up. The style is a blouson, cross-over front with a longer back. Sleeves can be rolled up or left long and the collar is convertible.
Julie Blouse front 1
                                   Julie Blouse side 2 Julie Blouse back

I used some stash multi-coloured geometric poly chiffon (100% polyester), it really requires a fabric with good drape to show off the front cross-over feature, not highly evident with my fabric however. There is a fair amount of ease in this top so I’d probably recommended to go down a size if you want a more fitted style, I went down two from my normal size and it is still roomy. Just make sure to check pattern measurements for yourself, don’t take it from me.

It isn’t a very complicated sew but does require concentration, especially when getting the cross-over part together. The instructions/diagrams have been modified since testing but otherwise the pattern itself is pretty much the same. I usually have a rule of thumb that I don’t write/review a garment until I have made at least a second version from the final pattern but in this case there weren’t any changes to fit/style.

For the interfacing, I used white because that is what I had, even though the top is predominantly black, but in this case it made the colours more vibrant, and really at the end of the day it isn’t that noticeable.

I do want to make a white version for spring though, it’s such a versatile pattern, unlike my tester version which is bright and loud, I just figured I better post about this top now because getting around to actually making version two may be a while away.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Alyse Pants by DesignerStitch Patterns

Are you after that elusive perfect pant pattern? I know I am. I have made 2 pairs of well fitting, but not perfect pants in the past, the Sewaholic Thurlows and Simplicity 3850 Built by Wendy (OOP). Both have been worn well and need replacing so I agreed to test the Alyse Pants* by DesignerStitch Patterns, of the patterns I have tested for Ann to date, I find the fit generally pretty good.

This is good value for money as the Alyse pattern comes with a slim, taper or wide leg and a short, 7/8th or long leg length. There are two front functional pockets and a side zip.

As always, I forged ahead with version 1 without alterations. The front rise was too long and I had back leg wrinkling, no different from RTW. This pattern is designed for fabrics with stretch, mine was black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex). The pants ended up shorter than I would have liked as when I got home from the fabric store my fabric measured 1.5m even though I paid for two. I wasn’t about to take the kids back so got creative with my cutting. Most pieces fit but I was 5cm short on the front leg pieces so shortened the back legs too. I ended up hemming them with 25mm single fold black bias binding to preserve as much length as possible. The other option would have been to do the shorter length but given it’s autumn, these are more functional.

         Alyse pants side                   Alyse pants front Alyse pants front 2 Alyse pants back

Version 2 was made using black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) again. Due to some excess fabric at the front with my first pair, for version 2 I removed a 2cm wedge from the front, starting 8cm below the waist line and at a length of 15cm. This time I turned up the length as instructed.

Alyse pants v2 side                                        Alyse pants v2 side 2 Alyse pants v2 back

FYI, I have actually worn the second pair so much I noticed some fabric runs/damage in one of the calves so not only do I have to sew another pair, I will probably cut these short to capri length for spring to salvage them.

fabric run

 You just have to be aware that since the suggested fabric may have a stretch component, you may get some bagging out after wearing them for a day but they are a well fitting and great written pattern.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Lena Pants… or my Tencel Harems by DesignerStitch Patterns

I never got into the harem pants trend, it wasn’t really my look and I thought the low crotch and excess fabric would be bothersome. Well, low and behold I made a pair. Ann from DesignerStitch Patterns put a call out for testers* for the Lena pants just as the Jenny dress testing had come to a close. That dress fit perfectly and the pattern and instructions were spot on so thought to give these a try. I was swayed by the fact they were a modified version of a harem pant with a less pronounced drop crotch. They have a self fabric cuff, pockets, elastic waistband and optional drawstring on the waistband. I used tencel fabric, light weight dark wash denim (not sure of content) for mine, hoping to have a casual pair of pants.

                 Lena pants side                                              Lena pants front

Using fabric with good drape is a must for this pattern. Other testers were far more creative and used sarongs for their versions.

Construction was actually super fast. I didn’t encounter any problems from printing to ironing the last seam.

Lena pants front 2Lena pants back

The verdict…. These came out better than I anticipated, I wasn’t sure if they would make me look bottom heavy . I now have a comfortable, casual go to pair of pants that are functional for playing with the kids. Not my normal silhouette buy I’m glad I tried them out. There may be a “dressier” pair in the horizon but I have a pile of other selfish sewing to get through first.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Navy Roses for a Jenny Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns

You may or may not have noticed I really like to pattern test. I have mentioned previously why, and it’s because I love a challenge and being methodical.

The call went out to test* for the Jenny dress by DesignerStitch Patterns. Ann is the lady behind the label and is an accomplished pattern designer and teacher. When I see such qualifications though I usually think they know more than I, so I often hope that at least I can offer something out of the testing process. I guess for a designer assessing fit issues is as important as clear instructions and a great drafted pattern.

Jenny front                      Jenny side (3)  Jenny side (4)

The Jenny dress is a simple sheath dress with bust darts and waist darts at both the front and back for a great fit. There is the optional wrap which adds some interest. Often I fear adding extra fabric to the waistline as it can add extra “weight” but I think in this case the design is perfect and hits at the right spot. The wrap in this case is sewn into the side seams and are bagged as when tying them up the underside shows. Probably a good opportunity to play around with different fabrics.

Jenny backI went down a size after fitting the dress because my printed navy burgandy roses cotton sateen (97% cotton/ 3% spandex) had some stretch. The dress was a perfect fit straight out of the envelope. I didn’t need to make any alterations to the fit but chose not to do the 3 cm hem and turned up 1 cm instead, I didn’t want to loose too much length and next time would personally probably lengthen from the outset. Normally I find I need to shorten the bodice and take in the upper back for the big 4 pattern companies, but not this time.

I liked that this dress also had a small sleeve and the facings were nice and big to completely finish off the armholes/sleeves without having separate facings or needing to do bindings.

jenny front facingjenny back facing

I usually make a second version of the tester garment using the final pattern but didn’t need to because this one fit pretty spot on. Having said that I may need to make a black, wrap free version, as a wardrobe staple and will lengthen by an inch. I will be sharing a number of pattern tests for DesignerStitch Patterns in the coming weeks.

jenny unwrap

DesignerStitch Patterns launched the collection of beautiful women’s PDF patterns on Monday 23rd May 2016 and is having a 20% purchase discount to celebrate. The size range is from 6 to 26 and available as A4 print-at-home or A0 Copy shop files. Check out the designs at:

http://www.designerstitch.com
20% coupon code = designer20 (expiry 3rd June)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignerStitch
20% coupon code = designer20 (expiry 3rd June)

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.